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Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali Ayurvedic Products: Serving, Profitably?

ET Cases, 28 Pages
AUTHOR(S) : Syed Abdul Samad and Dr. Nagendra V. Chowdary

Case Preview

Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali Ayurvedic Products: Serving, Profitably?

“This is just the beginning. Nestlé, Hindustan Unilever and Colgate-Palmolive will be left clueless eventually.”

Modern trade changed the way Indians shopped in the 1990s, then e-commerce and online shopping made way during the 2000s. This time around, it was Patanjali Ayurved Limited (PAL) – the latest disruptive force in the Indian FMCG sector – started in 2006 and grown exponentially since then. After clocking a sale of 5,000 crore  ($744 million) in 2015–2016 with a growth of 150% over previous year, Baba Ramdev’s (Ramdev) PAL was targeting 10,000 crore revenue in 2016–2017. PAL, that  started only a decade back, became a FMCG giant and grew ten times in size in the last 5 years – an unprecedented feat in India’s FMCG sector. Relying on ‘Brand  Ramdev’, pitching its products as swadeshi (indigenous), using technology for mass quality production and adhering to traditional ayurvedic ingredients, PAL’s products  overshadowed the offerings of all other FMCG companies in the Indian market.

The set revenue target of 2016–2017, if achieved, would put the company ahead of multinational giants like Nestlé, Colgate-Palmolive and Procter & Gamble. In addition, Ramdev has set a very ambitious sales target of reaching of 1 trillion ($14.9 billion) by 2025–2026, a 20-fold increase from the current numbers. The target represented a third the size of the current Indian packaged consumer products market (3.2 trillion). Even HUL, present in India since 1888, could not reach one-third of PAL’s set target for 2025–2026. While the industry experts agree to the fact that PAL would be a major threat to domestic and global FMCG rivals alike, the company was facing numerous controversies and concerns that seemed to hamper its growth.............

Indian FMCG Market: The Landscape

Growing annually at about 12% over the last decade and an overall market size of $185 billion in 2015, of which the branded market is $65 billion, the FMCG sector forms the fourth largest sector in the Indian economy. Food products was the leading segment, accounting for 43% of the overall market share followed by personal care (22%) and fabric care (12%).

Growing awareness, easier access, changing demographics, increased disposable income and lifestyles have been the key growth drivers for the consumer market. Rural areas too were expected to be major growth drivers for FMCG – they experienced 16% growth as against 12% of urban areas in 2015...............

New Age Indian Consumer and Natural/Herbal/Ayurvedic FMCG Sector

The presence of natural/herbal/ayurvedic category of products and brands in the Indian FMCG market is not a new phenomenon, but off late the category had expanded rapidly. During 2015, the size of the Indian ayurvedic market was ₹5000 crore, it had been growing consistently at a rate of 10%–15% and was expected to grow at the same rate for the next 10 years. It was also expected to become a $5 trillion10 market globally by 2050, of which large portions would be centred in India (being the origin for ayurveda) with a host of...............

Baba Ramdev, Yoga, Ayurveda and Patanjali

Swami Ramdev, popularly known as Baba Ramdev (aka Ramkrishna Yadav), has been known for his efforts to popularize yoga through his mass yoga camps. He was born in Alipur, Haryana in 1965. He attended school until eighth grade and then joined gurukul in Khanpur to study yoga and Sanskrit. He renounced worldly life to become a sanyasi (monastic living), taking on his present name and spent many years of his life studying ancient Indian scriptures, practicing meditation and self-discipline and teaching Yoga and Pranayama...............

Patanjali Cooks a New Indian FMCG Recipe

It is a tiny store, unlike the fashionable upscale showrooms, without any fancy lights, glass panels or even an attractive signboard. Bottles, packets, cartons, etc., were stacked on iron shelves along the walls of the store and few in the middle of the room. The store itself was tucked away in one corner of the busy market street or in the by lanes of a residential area, with a sales representative sitting in front of a wooden table in the corner of the room giving the feel of a 1980s shop.............

Patanjali Ayurved Limited

The brainchild of Ramdev, Patanjali had its beginnings in the form of a small pharmacy (Divya Pharmacy) with a small-scale manufacturing unit in the premises of the KripaluBagh Ashram in 1995, formed to provide quality ayurvedic medicines to people suffering from various diseases. Later, on January 13th 2006, it was shaped as a Private Limited Company, and subsequently converted into Public Limited Company on June 25th 2007. Divya Pharmacy was the manufacturing unit of Patanjali Ayurved Limited..............

Manufacturing and Quality

As a part of an initiative by the Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI) to set up a food park in every state to encourage entrepreneurs, PAL’s manufacturing facilities, in PFAHPL, were established. A Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) developed the basic infrastructure required for an agglomeration of food processing industries. PAL’s PFAHPL, opened on January 5th 2010, was the result of this initiative headed by Balkrishna and MoFPI’s SPV..............

Revenue and Growth

With quality products being produced and marketed, PAL’s sales grew from ₹162 crore in 2009 to ₹5,000 crore in 2015 with a CAGR of 63% (Exhibit V), which put PAL at par with companies like Emami (₹2,217 crore22 net revenue in 2014-15) and Marico (₹5,733 crore in FY201523). Moreover, as of 2016, it was a zero-debt company. Milind Sarwate (Sarwate), CEO of Increate Value Advisors, an advisory firm...........

Distribution and Retail

How did PAL achieve this feat with just 4,000 distributors, 10,000 stores, 100 Patanjali-branded stores and supermarkets25 and other stores, which display its products, and without any advertising? “We never had a business plan,” declared Balkrishna. “We also don’t know markets or marketing. But what we know is serving the people by providing them high-quality products at attractive prices”, he added.............


As Balkrishna claimed, all this could be achieved without a business plan but not without ambition. “In five years, I will take swadeshi products of Patanjali to such great heights that foreign companies will dwarf in front of them,” declared Ramdev. A no empty threat it is. Again, he announces his selfless intentions behind PAL offerings. He insists...........


Matters at PAL had begun to change by the end of 2015 as the company had roped in advertising companies like DDB Mudra North and Vermillion to promote its products. Vermillion handled all Patanjali product ads barring three – ghee, noodles and Dant Kanti – that were handled by DDB Mudra North (Exhibit VIII). As of June 2016, the TV Commercials for Kesh Kanti, Aloe Vera and Amla Juice, honey, Chyawanprash and biscuits are on air..............

Investments – R&D and Manufacturing

Apart from branding and marketing, PAL also had the ability to keep investing in the Research and Development (R&D) of new products and installing new facilities and technologies, that helped it in keeping up with the ever-increasing demand. While the company says that the banks were more than willing to help in its expansion, it was also financially strong because of the cash that yoga brought in.............

Controversies and Concerns

Controversies – Tax Evasion

In 2004, Divya Pharmacy had showed a sale of only ₹6,73,000 and paid sales tax of ₹53,000, while there was huge demand for its medicines all over the country and were sent through Value Payable Post (VPP) – valued ₹13,13,000; it also received Money Orders worth ₹17,50,000. Around 2,509 kg of medicines were dispatched through 3,353 parcels..........

Controversies – Medicine Stock Transfer

Tax evasion was one way of siphoning money. In the same year, the Pharmacy transferred medicine stocks worth `30,17,000 to other Ramdev’s organizations and trusts and claimed that the medicines were distributed to the poor and needy........

Controversies – Land Grab

Apart from these, the trusts owned by Ramdev purchased huge tracts of land in Haridwar, Aurangabad, Shivdaspur, Mustafabad, Dhanpura, Ghissapur, Rani Majra and Ferupura Maujo and adjoining districts through benami transactions, where PYT, PFAHPL and Patanjali university were constructed. In July 2008......



PAL’s Concerns

Manufacturing, Distribution & Retail

There is a huge gap between demand and supply, even though there are numerous PAL stores and modern retail stores displaying its products, in addition to the convenience of e-commerce. Vijay Udasi, SVP – Sales Effectiveness Practice, Nielsen India, said, “Modern trade only forms ~10% of the FMCG sales pie and not more than 1% of Indian consumers buy FMCG..........

Risk of Brand Ramdev

Another potential problem is that the company is able to find and add buyers because it had become synonymous with Ramdev and his brand image, which experts term as a ‘risky’ proposition. If the personal brand is tarnished or the person ceases to exist or...........



India’s Regulatory Framework

Ramdev’s business strategies were having disconnect from the country’s business regulatory framework. For instance, the law on ‘collective investment schemes’ (to the extent of ₹100 crore), would deter crowd-funding for a business idea that clearly says it is a business seeking money, and also a business is expected to promise returns..............

Competition and Competitors Response

Amidst these controversies, PAL found an admirer in the form of Credit Lyonnais Securities Asia (CLSA), which wanted it to be listed, despite it straying away from most of the professional marketing ingredients that were key for building a large-scale consumer goods business and which was still giving competition to the industry’s big players...........


Exhibit I: Top 10 FMCG Companies of India – 2016

Exhibit II: Patanjali’s Institutions and Trusts

Exhibit III: Patanjali Stores

Exhibit IV: PAL’s Production Units and Employment Generation

Exhibit V: PAL’s Growth

Exhibit VI: PAL’s Product Pricing Compared to Rivals

Exhibit VII: PAL’s Print Ads Featuring Ramdev

Exhibit VIII: PAL’s Ads by DDB Mudra North

Exhibit IX: PAL – Gaining Ground

Exhibit X: Yoga Gram

Exhibit XI: PAL’s Share of Kirana Store Universe in India

Exhibit XII: PAL Under Regulatory Scanners

Exhibit XIII: Competitors Preparing to Put Up a Fight

Teaching Note Preview

Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali Ayurvedic Products: Serving, Profitably?


Patanjali Ayurved Limited (PAL), which started in 2006, had become the latest disruptive force in the Indian FMCG sector. With a growth of 150% over the previous  year, the company, started by Baba Ramdev (Ramdev), clocked a sale of 5,000 crore ($744 million) in 2015–2016. Having initiated scores of Indians into yoga  Ramdev had become an Indian icon for yoga and an anathema to sedentary living. The company had grown by banking on Ramdev’s personal brand image, and its  products were made using traditional natural/herbal/ayurvedic ingredients and pitched as ‘swadeshi’ (indigenous). PAL’s products had overshadowed the  offerings of all other FMCG companies in the Indian market and PAL was targeting revenue of 10,000 crore in 2016–2017. While it is considered a threat to competitors, industry experts looked at its distribution network and product shortages as hindrances in its growth. This case study is meant to understand how a  homegrown, personal-brand-equitybased initiative can be catapulted into a thriving business.

Prerequisite Conceptual Understanding (PCU)/Before the Classroom Discussion

The students/participants should be asked to read the following article:

  • *Michael E. Porter, “What is Strategy?”,, November-December 1996 – To understand that a company needs to have a differentiating strategy to outperform its rivals

Case Positioning and Setting

This case study can be used in the MBA Program for either of the following courses/modules:

  • *Corporate Strategy/Competitive Strategy – How a disruptive/challenger FMCG player’s competitive strategy can be designed and executed?
  • *Brand Management – How a personal brand equity can be reshaped into a challenger brand?

Assignment Questions

  • I. Discuss the reasons for the success of Patanjali Ayurved Limited in the light of the business dynamics of the Indian FMCG market.
  • II. Discuss the Critical Success Factors of Patanjali Ayurved Limited and analyze how it had affected the Indian FMCG Market.
  • III. What would it take for Patanjali Ayurved Limited to stay ahead of competition and deeper penetration into the Indian FMCG market?

Preamble to the Case Study Analysis and Suggested Orchestration

This case study helps understand the reasons behind PAL’s rapid growth. It helps to analyse the Critical Success Factors (CSFs) of the Indian FMCG industry and how the CSFs contributed for PAL’s success. It also analyses the reasons responsible for PAL’s success and how Ramdev’s personal brand equity became an influencing factor for PAL’s success. Further, it allows the participants to debate about the possible ways in which PAL could become more profitable in future and continue to be successful.......

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Product code: STG-1-0036, STG-1-0036A


This case study is meant to understand how a home-grown, personal-brand-equity-based initiative can be catapulted into a thriving business. Having initiated scores of  Indians into yoga and the art of ideal living through his well-orchestrated yoga sessions for many years, Baba Ramdev (Ramdev) became the Indian icon for yoga and an anathema to sedentary living. Having been buoyed by stupendous success with a powerful brand recall, it was time in 2006 for Ramdev to tread the path of building  business architecture. Over the next few years, with prudent business sense and ardent aggression, Patanjali Ayurved Limited (PAL) became an Indian FMCG juggernaut with sales of ₹5,000 crore by March 2016. With an aggressive target of ₹1 trillion ($14.9 billion) of net sales by 2025, PAL is steadily eating into the market  shares of entrenched and long-playing FMCG players including HUL, P&G, ITC, Godrej, L’Oréal, etc. Will PAL be able to take the sheen off FMCG behemoths or would it  succumb to inertia soon?

Pedagogical Objectives

  • To understand how the personal brand equity can be morphed into a successful business venture, i.e., how Baba Ramdev’s brand equity (an outcome of his years of Yoga association with Indians) became a bedrock and a strong building block for PAL’s commercial success
  • To analyze the critical success factors behind PAL’s meteoric penetration into Indian FMCG market with its aggressive promotion and assertive production
  • To discuss and debate on the ways and means for PAL to stay ahead of the competition and continue to set the Indian FMCG agenda

Case Positioning and Setting

This case study can be used in MBA Program for either of the following courses/modules:

  • Corporate Strategy/Competitive Strategy – How a disruptive/challenger FMCG player’s competitive strategy can be designed and executed?
  • Brand Management – How a personal brand equity can be reshaped into a challenger brand?

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